Friday, March 11, 2011

ski school woes

Recently at ski school, I had to test kids in the morning, which means that I take them outside on their first day to see what their level is and therefore which class they should be placed in.  I put this one boy from Mexico in a level two class, because he could turn, but couldn't go back up the hill or skate or anything, which we require for higher levels. His parents yelled at me and said that he should be in a higher level because it doesn't matter if he can go back up the hill when all he wants to do is ski down it.  I tried to explain to them that we require those skills in ski school for his safety, etc.  They were really mad at me and basically threatened that he'd better be moved at lunchtime to a higher level class.  All of the instructors hate testing, because it means you don't get to bond with your class in the morning.  As soon as your'e done testing, it's time to go outside and start skiing.  Luckily, i had had 4 of the 5 girls in my class already over the past 2 days.  Also all 4 of those girls only spoke Spanish. The one new one was my only english speaker.  

I took the girls up to the top of the mountain, they are in level 1--which means they can stop in a wedge, but can't turn yet and don't know how to ski in a line.  Level 1 is widely regarded as the worst level to teach, because trying to teach personal space to a 4 year old is very difficult.  Trying to teach it in a language you don't speak is next to impossible.  So, we're working on skiing in a line and I'm trying to speak in English and in Spanish, which is really difficult for me.  And it's really hard to figure out how to say, "please slow down and leave enough space so you don't run into the person in front of you" in Spanish.  I basically end up saying "more slow please.  We need lots of space. No (and then i make a smashing gesture) her (and i point to the girl in front of her)." Clearly things are going well.

Then one Spanish speaking girl's dad and mom stop by and are taking pictures of her and generally getting in the way, so she's not paying attention to me and crashing into the other girls even more than she was before.  And it's super annoying.  Then the other Mexican girls start asking me where their dads are, so i politely ask the guy to please leave as it is upsetting the other girls in the class. He then tells me his daughter is bored in my class and should be in a higher level.  I had had her in my class two days prior and had moved her to this level and I told him that, and he said that she took a private lesson yesterday and ended as a level 3. I told him that nobody informed me of this and that I woudl try to move her at lunch.  He responded by saying something to his daughter in Spanish and skiing off. I could tell he wasn't very happy with me/ski school.  

Then his daughter, of course, started crying because her dad had left.  Then all the other Spanish speaking girls started crying for their dads.  "Quieerrooooo mi papiiiiiiiii."  And it was literally like they decided to compete to see who could cry/scream the loudest.  So for the next 45 minutes they were wailing and everyone who skied by was just staring at me like what on earth did you do to those kids.  The only girl who didn't cry was the American one, but she was terrible at skiing and kept falling every 10 seconds and couldn't get up on her own, which seriously delayed our arrival at lunch.  

Then at lunch, when I went to get my food from the cafeteria, other instructors were asking me to please shut my class up, because my kids were giving them headaches.  Giving THEM headaches?? What about me? Seriously, the crying was so loud it was almost comical.  Then, the CONCIERGE of the girl whose dad visited/left called to say that the parents had called the HOTEL being every concerned that their daughter was crying in ski school. UGH. Luckily my bosses love me, so they said, well she's crying because her dad stopped by and then left, so please tell her parents not to come back in the afternoon. Haha. Then one of the other Mexican girls fell asleep at the lunch table.

 The afternoon went slightly better.  A new girl was moved into my class.  She also spoke English and was adorable, but fell just as much as her American counterpart. The one girl whose parents were so involved moved to a higher level class and the sleeper had to leave early.  We eventually made it to an actual chair lift.  Needless to say, trying to speak in Spanish and in English to 4 year olds on skis is a very tiring thing.